March 09, 2004

I hate to kick a man when she's down, and I know it's been front page news for months, but this Stevie Cameron story is not something anyone I know reads or cares or thinks about, and I wonder why.

Or maybe I don't. After all, We live in a country united by our undying hatred for all things Lyin' Brian and our conception of him as a crooked, corrupt thief (which Cameron dutifully laid out for us) has had it's immortality directly threatened in recent months. To believe Cameron wasn't opportunistic in this is to believe kittens in burlap sacks will float indefinitely when tossed into pickerel ponds, but that's somehow beside the real point, which is that we hate L.B. even when he didn't do the things we hate him for.

I remember a flim festival interview a few years back, when the great Canada-championer Michael Moore remarked how unfortunate it was Ben shared a last name with that "terrible former prime minister of the country". Mulroney gently told Moore he was the prime minister's son, which prompted an apology. Ben then said, "It's ok - I get that sometimes" but I bet he gets it all the time. Mulroney himself began a speech with an anecdote about how he was on the bus when the woman beside him volunteered how sorry she felt for him. When he asked her why, she said "because you look just like Brian Mulroney". You can think about it at your own peril. Were most of us to, say, find ourselves in L.B.'s shoes for so much as a millisecondo we'd shoot ourselves in the head on the spot. Yet our former PM's persevered and not without reason, or so it's starting to seem, as - and excuse me for saying this out loud - he didn't lie.

He's hated for a lot of things: Meech Lake, an initiative which shouldn't have generated hatred, and which didn't make it through anyway - unfortunately for us - is, curiously, chief among them. The GST, which, depending on who you ask, might not be the bastion of fascistic evil it once seemed, (and may even be something close to pragmatic.) The Big One, Free Trade, has many of the elite lawyers in the U.S. furiously banging heads, claiming they were had, because they were the ones with the bargaining power (being the most powerful force in human history and everything) and we were the ones who walked away laughing. This is according to them, and you can't trust them, of course. And NAFTA might well be a disaster for us. Perhaps we should have continued to be bullied about without even trying to impose stipulations: this was certainly John Turner's plan, but I don't know how workable it was. Mulroney also had his heart in the right place on apartheid, controversially enough.

Personally, I sympathize deeply with those who regard "trade" as "doomed", but I feel history indicates otherwise. Regardless of your feeling tho, recall Mulroney ran an election on the issue. He said a vote for him was a vote for Free Trade and won a landslide. It was Chretien who ran on the promise to undo NAFTA and then did nothing until it was time to go out in style, therefore it's Chretien we can rightfully call a liar. And yet, he's known as the little man from Shawinigated community.

From what I've gathered, Cameron's husband, some very respectable Geeves, wanted a job posting that he felt qualified for, and that the PC government refused him. Rumour has it (how dare I?!) Stevie was indignant on her hubby's behalf and On The Take was her best effort to bring down the man who dared not hire her spouse. I actually paid for and read that book, and while I don't doubt Cameron believed she was hot on the trail of the truth, she did come up empty, and it didn't prevent her from becoming a millionaire and household name over night. It gave her all the credence a journalist could hope for and it was a story she created by feeding BS to the RCMP and leading them on a 4.8 million dollar excursion into nowhere's-ville. I hate to state the obvious, but [delivered in shrill Annex-activist tone] that's tax payer's money! Chretien was only too happy to provide it, of course, because he hated L.B. as much as the rest of us. It seems a paltry sum now, but keep in mind had Mulroney been found to have squandered anything close to that amount for his own opportunistic purposes, he would have been hanged publicly. He practically was hanged publicly and no one gave a shit. Had anyone made such an unsupportable assertion in order to besmirch the good name of, say, Pierre Elliot Christ, well, they too would have been hanged, while being whipped mercilessly by their pirouetting executioner.

It's pretty nuts Stevie spent the last few months saying she would never have been a numbered informant in a million years because it would have compromised her integrity and ruined her credibility. She said this enough times that the presiding judge started wondering aloud why in hell she was permitted to fib in national newspapers and on national radio and remain protected-- this woman who had made herself rich via something that bordered on slander. At which time Cameron back-pedalled saying she didn't realize she was numbered, as she never told the RCMP anything that wasn't public knowledge. It's a curious thing: call up the Mounties and ask them for numbered-informant-status on the basis you have public knowledge to offer them, and somehow, they're never interested.

I suppose it's sad: Cameron's illustrated she's capable of bald face lies just like the politicians she scorned in spite of their unproven (& unprovable) guilt. She's tarnished, if not ruined, her own credibility, which is too bad for both her and us, as she was a guru to a burgeoning generation of young journalists just as surely as that Lyin' guy was their Supreme Doofus in Command.

Mulroney - and let me make myself very clear on this - was tough to stomach: pompous and arrogant and obnoxious as hell. He is, in our hearts, inextricably tied to the downward spiral of globalization, and rightly so. But he wasn't a lying thief, and he's damn close to Jesus next to those heading the Canadian Alliance at the moment. What they want to do with health-care, abortion and the death penalty, their ideas about being friendly to big business, Stephen Harper's respect for the subcontinental inuit, Belinda Stronach's first semester of university, Tony Mike-Harris Clement. Or, just for fun, the scandals of the Liberal Party : are these not undeniable evidence of irredeemable corruption?

Anyway, we basically have no one to vote for.

My best guess is Lyin' Cameron doesn't have the same ring to it, and Stevie will eventually find herself back in the Winwood again. Mulroney, who is already gleeful over the prospect of his impending redemption, will forever remain the most lyingest guy in our country - however unfairly - mostly due to his own self-righteous glee over the prospect of impending redemption.

Nothing much will change.

The tragedy, according to virtually everyone, is that Stevie Cameron is a sweet woman. I wish to God all this had happened to someone else, like, say, Margaret Wente, for instance. But as it is, this whole ordeal has caused that most prolific wind-bag of our country to start making something close to sense.

To me, this is the most shocking development of all.

Posted by at March 09, 2004 11:10 AM

I know. First I admit to wanting to go to a Glass Tiger re-union concert. Then I defend Mulroney. My perversity knows no bounds~!! But it's all part of a grand design, I assure you.

Posted by: on March 9, 2004 11:38 AM .

Holy shit I can ramble.

Posted by: on March 9, 2004 03:17 PM .

Don't everybody agree with me at once.

Posted by: on March 9, 2004 05:53 PM .

You have all the time in the world.

Posted by: on March 9, 2004 10:58 PM .

Here's the thing with apartheid - Mulroney and Canada had nothing to loose, at all. We had no economic dealings in South Africa of note, and thought he did stand up to cocksuckers like Thatcher and Reagan, there was never any huge risk of alienating them over this - but it did make it look like he was standing up for Canadian Sovereignty and that Canada, as a soft power, was dutifully doing its soft power thing. But it was easy.

I wrote a paper on this too. twice today i've posted on blogs about shit i wrote a paper on in grad school. never has political science been so handy.

Posted by: Spancan on March 9, 2004 11:06 PM .

I can't believe the first comment generated by this post doesn't take issue with my views on NAFTA, the GST, or Stevie Cameron. a!! Spancan and I agree: Apartheid is evil!

Now c'mon people, bring me down. Take me down!! I'm talking about how Lyin' Brian was victimized by journalists.

Take me down!!

Posted by: on March 10, 2004 09:28 AM .

C'mon Canerder: I'm siding with Margaret Wente here, for chrissake!

Posted by: on March 10, 2004 10:13 AM .

What's NAFTA? This isn't windsor. This isn't cornwall. Who cares. All that happened before the Interent was a big deal.

Stevie Cameron isn't rich though. She isn't. All she has is her reputation.

Posted by: Spancan on March 11, 2004 12:57 AM .

She owns a house in Cabbagetown, which makes her rich enough, in my books.

Course, my books are all cooked.

Posted by: on March 11, 2004 10:29 AM .

The middle class aren't real rich though. They probably have to shop a mixture of Holt's and Zara, rather than just Holt's.

Posted by: Spancan on March 11, 2004 06:50 PM .
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